Build A Model II

Posted on by Brandon Klein

This is a usually a DesignTeam module in the Scan phase of the process. Each team is given a materials for them to use to construct a physical model (or models) of the processes or system (business unit, organization, society, etc.) representing a solution to their problem. The materials we provide varies with the specific assignment: it can be construction paper, foam core, and other “school” supplies; legos, toy blocks or construction sets; junk and bric-a-brac; or a combination of all of these.

To have participants think about their problem differently, by having them change their immediate focus (for example, away from the current “problem” to an envisioned ideal state) and change their sensory mode (e.g., verbal to kinesthetic). To have participants share in playful and unexpected ways. To give form to abstract thoughts by building a model (representation) of it.

This is typically a Scan process, and can be used very early on. Requires slightly more time than the typical DesignTeam round, e.g., 1 - 3 hours.

Strengths — Encourages thinking by getting participants kinesthetically oriented (out of their normal paradigm). It’s fun – it’s hard to stay serious around legos. It’s a good stretch for most groups. Helps build a shared vision. Weaknesses — For some situations, this is too far a stretch; appears childish to the analytically inclined. May take too much time (relative to content generated) for shorter DesignShops. May not work well if participants feel they’re under a lot of pressure to resolve their (DesignShop) issues quickly. Specifications for Success — Again, it’s the basics: prepare the participants for a Scan process; give them a strong assignment, worthy of their attention; ensure you’ve got a good mix of ideas (vantage points, agreement/disagreement) on each team ; and set them to it.

Provide ample materials and tools. Legos, blocks, construction sets, construction paper, cardboard, pens, crayons, markers, scissors, tape, glue, staplers, et cetera.

Sometimes best to do walk-about reports. Break-Out space. Normal.

• Build a Board Game
• Report your work – as story telling; as role-playing or performance; as theatrical “skit.” 

See also Build A Model I and Scenarios